Buzzing, chirping, humming, hissing, roaring, and clicking, at times these sounds may become unbearable. The noise in your head will not go away. The term used to describe this common symptom is tinnitus. "Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no external sound is present; it is often referred to as ringing in the ears." (American Tinnitus Association) Statistics from the Head and Neck Center, P.C. indicate that there are nearly 36 million people affected by tinnitus; 7 million are affected so severely that they cannot lead normal lives.
Tinnitus occurrence and characteristics vary from person to person. The sound may be continuous or fluctuating and it can occur in one or both ears. Pitches range from low roars to high chirps and are experienced by people of all ages. There are two types of tinnitus that can be experienced. They are referred to as objective tinnitus and subjective tinnitus. Objective tinnitus is a rare form caused by "abnormalities in blood vessels around the outside of the ear or by muscle spasms, which may sound like clicks or crackling inside the middle ear". (American Academy of Otolaryngology) Other people besides the affected individual can often hear the ringing noise as well. Subjective tinnitus, on the other hand, is much more common, yet less understood. (Caster, 2000) The noises accompanied with this form of tinnitus are only heard by the individual. Subjective tinnitus may be accompanied by other conditions such as otosclerosis or Menier's syndrome.
History of Tinnitus.
To begin our discussion on tinnitus, we will highlight events in history surrounding the discovery, treatment, and early beliefs behind the causes of tinnitus. It is uncertain when the symptom of tinnitus was first discovered. The earliest medical records available are the records of the ancient Egyptians found on papyruses. In many of the ancient Egyptian writings, there is a mention of a bewitched ear.